Resort in TripAdvisor Top 10

Layana Resort & Spa in Koh Lanta, Krabi has been voted 9th in the list of the world's most romantic hotels, according to TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice Awards 2013.

Layana Resort & Spa.

Just in time for Valentine's Day, the awards rank Anastasis Apartments in Greece in the first position, followed by La Minerva in Italy, Cranleigh Boutique in the UK, Cedar Manor Hotel and Restaurant in the UK, Baros Maldives, Casa del Mar in Malaysia, Bardessono in the US, Al Maha Desert Resort in Dubai, Layana Resort & Spa in Thailand and Veligandu Island Resort in the Maldives.

"The awards are based on feedback from couples who have stayed at these hotels and given them the highest romantic stamp of approval," said Trip-Advisor's chief marketing officer Barbara Messing. The website gathered millions of reviews over a 12-month period, she added.

In addition to being ranked among the top 10 in the world, Layana Resort & Spa also came in third place in Asia's most romantic hotels, after Baros Maldives and Casa del Mar in Langkawi.

According to Layana Resort & Spa general manager Stefan Heintze, the award encourages its staff to continuously provide outstanding personalised service.

Among Asia's top 10 most romantic hotels, seven resorts from Maldives are listed, two from Thailand and one from Malaysia. Another Thai hotel has been ranked in eighth position _ The Shore at Katathani in Phuket. Visit 

Visas for Middle Eastern citizens

The government plans to attract more tourists from the Middle East by offering 90-day visas to those who want to see doctors here.

The move is part of the country's tourism strategy to promote Thailand as a medical hub, according to Public Health Minister Dr Pradit Sintavanarong.

He said the ministry has worked with the Foreign Ministry and the Interior Ministry to ease some visa rules for visitors from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates if they want to undergo medical treatment in Thailand. When they apply for a visa, they need to show medical appointments, financial certificates and other related documents. They may be allowed to a maximum stay of 90 days together with visa approvals for up to four accompaning people. He said if the strategy proves to be a success, the ministry plans to extend the policy to other countries in Asean, China, Japan, Scandinavia and Russia.

Airlines update

- Scoot, Singapore Airline's low-cost carrier, has launched ScooTV allowing passengers to have in-flight entertainment service on their own Wi-Fi devices.

"Scoot is excited to be the first airline in Asia to offer this innovative inflight entertainment option. Going wireless keeps our aircraft lighter, our costs down and our fares cheaper," said the airline's CEO Campbell Wilson.

Powered by Gogo, a leading provider of in-flight connectivity and wireless in-flight digital entertainment solutions, ScooTV features blockbuster movies and popular TV shows. The service is only free for business-class passengers while the charge for those in economy is S$15 (360 baht) for pre-purchase or paying S$1 more (384 baht) for on-board purchase per flight. The airline also provides tablets for rent on board.

Scoot's network now comprises nine cities including Singapore, Sydney, Gold Coast, Bangkok, Taipei, Tianjin, Tokyo, Qingdao and Shenyang, with 35 more destinations offered in conjunction with partner airlines.


- Crying kids tend to annoy people flying 10,000m above ground. With that in mind, AirAsia X has launched a "quiet zone" where the first seven rows of economy class are reserved for passengers above 12 years old.

AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani said the airline is offering an extra product with minimal noise and less disturbance.

"The airline is not banning kids from travelling, but instead is enhancing the array of product offerings on-board to suit its guests' individual needs and preferences," he said.

The new service is available on the airline's long-haul flights across China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia and Nepal.

Passengers who choose to sit in the kid-free area are charged a standard pick-a-seat fee. Meanwhile, Thai AirAsia has introduced free Wi-Fi service for its passengers at Don Mueang airport. The airline will also receive seven new Airbus A320s this year, making a fleet of 34 aircraft.

Hotels update

- Dusit will open dusitD2 hotel in Khao Yai in the fourth quarter of this year.

The hotel will be located in Phuphatara Khao Yai, a residential development of Vilailux Development, owned by major shareholders of the telecommunications firm Samart Corporation.

"Our vision is to have at least three hotels in our portfolio, and dusitD2 is the perfect fit for this project," noted Vilailux development president Oraphan Laoprapatsorn.

The dusitD2 hotel will have a vineyard concept boasting a grill restaurant, banquet-style meeting room, outdoor events lawn, a spa and 79 guestrooms.

- Avista Hideaway Resort and Spa has opened in Phuket.

The hilltop resort offers 150 rooms and suites ranging from 55m2 to 145m2, two restaurants, three swimming pools with bars, a spa, an organic garden, family games room, butler service and also free Wi-Fi connection.

According to Avista Hospitality & Investments Group chief executive Ramesh Khendry, the resort is a fit for those who look for luxury escapes.

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About the author

Writer: Karnjana Karnjanatawe
Position: Travel Reporter